February 27, 2016 at 9:05 pm #15313
I’m really interested in the forums here, and would love to see them getting more members. I mentioned already that the registration might be unintentionally turning away new users. Fixing that will hopefully help a lot!
On top of that, however, I’ve been thinking some about this forum and think there could be some small changes that might help it be more user-friendly and appealing to possible new members. Sorry if this comes off as unwarranted to any mods or admins, or if software limitations or some other issue prevents these changes; it’s not my intention at all to come in here stating the obvious or criticizing the work of the forum staffers. I’d just like to see this place be the best it can be, as much as I know we all love the band and enjoy discussing them. But anyway, some things I’ve been thinking:
1. The formatting/layout
While I like the minimalist look of the forums and think it’s very in line with the band’s main site (and their general aesthetic), I think it could stand to be slightly less minimalist without losing the general vibes. Little things like a stand-in icon for anonymous users and users who haven’t uploaded an icon of their own, a basic header/banner, etc. It wouldn’t have to be flashy or colorful but could still add to the general visual appeal of the site without going overboard, maybe.
2. Accessibility + User-friendliness
-I think a direct link to the FAQ thread posted by LogicalHarm, along with a brief introduction to the forum itself and maybe a link to some forum guidelines or something similar at the top of the main page could help a lot.
-Additionally, maybe a list of mods or a way to contact a mod/admin directly and/or privately instead of posting a thread/reply in the this subforum could be helpful.
-Some clarity on the purposes of each subforum that’s more obvious from the front page (i.e. before having to click anything) might be good too.
3. Features + Organization
-Assuming the software allows for it, maybe some basic stats (current users online, recent activity, # of users/participants registered) either on the main page or under a link in the navigation bar would be really nice, as would user search (I’ve seen some discussion of it but assume it’s either been removed or isn’t working properly).
-If user search isn’t feasible for whatever forum software is being used here, maybe just a public (or user-accessible) member list would be a good substitute?
-Private messaging between users, or a way for one user to address another in a post (an @ tagging system, for instance, or something similar) that notifies the addressee could really help encourage forum activity, too.
-Given the recent developments of band members’ side projects, it might be good to add a subforum for National-related but non-National music and other projects (pfarmers, LNZNDRF, El Vy, A Skin A Night, etc) to keep discussion of those projects from getting lost in the shuffle.
4. Extra Information
This may seem kind of redundant given that the forum links back to the band’s home page, but maybe a short page linked to in navigation that briefly covers the band information + provides links to their side project sites, affiliated social media accounts, recent news, etc.
5. Attracting new members
-Maybe increasing awareness of the forum on tumblr, twitter, and/or reddit (given a considerable fan presence on both sites) could be good? Making a forum-affiliated account on tumblr/twitter for staff to run and post updates on (I know way less about reddit so I’m not sure how to increase visibility over there).
I’d be happy to contribute to this stuff/the forums in general any way I can, if any of the ideas seem good and you guys are short handed at the moment! Thanks for reading.October 9, 2016 at 10:51 pm #15439
Thanks for all your input. I agree with a large portion of it, but currently I don’t have any autonomy or access to the server/software. Would be good to reassess in some time, perhaps when the new album comes out – but your suggestions are appreciated. As someone who has been on the board for some time, you may have seen that I have committed a large amount of time in keeping the boards in order, generate traffic and conversation, user input and online presence, alongside AllTheWine and other moderators, but as mentioned, we only have so much power to change certain things and have received little feedback from the Big Bosses. Will keep you updated if anything changes – but thank you so much for taking the time to feedback.
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